Meet Rob Halpin, the latest maybe-possibly-sure-why-not contender for City Hall's fifth floor. Halpin is the guy who refused to leave when Emanuel, who was returning to Chicago for a potential mayoral run, asked him to vacate.
"It's not a joke," said Halpin, speaking from his place in line at O'Hare. Halpin, who works in industrial building construction, was on his way down to Georgia for business. Halpin argues the city needs someone with his business acumen.
"I'm a Catholic kid from the northside of Chicago," said Halpin. "And I've seen and read who is thinking of running and I just think there needs to be someone of my background. I'm also a businessman, not a professional politician, I will be a little bit different than the other people running."
Halpin says he was approached by "businessmen from the Southside of Chicago" to run for mayor, and that the overture took him by surprise.
"I told them if they're serious, they'd have to go and work real hard, go and get the paper work together, get the petitions completed, the signatures, and if they're able to do so in a timely manner, come back and see me," Halpin said. He said the same thing to John Kass at the Chicago Tribune. Kass also reported that Ald. Ed Burke said he's never spoken to Halpin either.
Halpin, for his part, insisted his potential bid has nothing to do with Emanuel.
"I don't know Rahm Emanuel," Halpin said, arguing that he's had "virtually no dealings" with the former White House Chief of Staff since renting his home. "It's a coincidence that I'm at his house."
Though Halpin declined to give specifics about his mayoral meetings, Ward Room discovered that he did meet with James Parrilli, the 19th Ward Republican Committeeman.
"I don't want to get involved," Parilli told Ward Room by phone.
Parrilli says he did not reach out to Halpin -- that Halpin contacted him first, claiming he was interested in running for mayor. Parrilli says he told Halpin if he was truly interested to find an election attorney, set up a fund and get petitions signed.
"From my position I'm always looking for a businessman interested in politics," said Parilli, but adds that his contact with Halpin was minimal. "He did not have my approval to use my name. I want nothing to do with Mr. Halpin."
Halpin, for his part, says he's serious about the bid. "I'll probably run," he said.
If he is indeed serious, then time is running out. Petitions in the mayor's race -- 12, 500 signatures from city residents -- are headed to the Board of Elections starting Monday morning at 9 am on November 15th, with the final petitions due on November 22.